[Azure] News for Developers, October 2020

This entry is part 43 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Want to know more? Check out the readme.

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[Azure] News for Developers, September 2020

This entry is part 41 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Want to know more? Check out the readme.

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[Azure] News for Developers, August 2020

This entry is part 39 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Want to know more? Check out the readme.

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[Azure] News for Developers, July 2020

This entry is part 38 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Want to know more? Check out the readme.

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[Opinion] My thoughts on the Microsoft MVP program

This post is following up on my tweet on the MVP program:

Ok, I admit that “circle jerk” was maybe a bit too much but that’s what frustration sometimes does. So I’m writing this post to explain why the MVP program annoys me.

 

What’s an MVP?

For those of you not familiar, MVP stands for Most Valueable Professional. It’s a recognition by Microsoft for people contributing to the Microsoft ecosystem, mainly in the form of community work. This might be contributing code, helping others and creating content. More information about that is found here. And even though “contributing code” and “helping others” are listed, most MVPs are known for their public talks. Basically you need to make yourself visible so that enough people notice and some might nominate you, in which case you might be elected.

 

If you’re a bit more skeptical as I am, you might also say that the MVP program is a smart move by Microsoft to keep people evangelizing their software and products. Of course I don’t have the numbers but I think I can safely state that paying all of the “MVP” hours would be a lot more expensive. But let’s be clear: that’s perfectly fine.

 

Recognition

Lets also look at the bright side: recognition for those who spend a lot of time, mostly their own personal time, in your ecosystem is of course great and needed. These people write code, make presentations, host events and talk at community events themselves. By doing that they help out a lot of others in the field. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that and it’s certainly worth recognizing!

Next to the title, MVPs are also granted some perks. Since I’m not one of them myself and I don’t have that much insight into the program I’m not exactly sure what this includes. But there’s an award thingy to put on your shelve. You can paste your photo into the MVP template and I’m pretty sure it involves at least some Azure credits, more direct access to product teams and an invitation to the yearly MVP summit in Redmond (for which travel and stay have to come out of your own pocket I believe). And that’s where things start going wrong in my opinion.

 

Head start

Being an MVP grants you access into an inner circle of MVPs and Microsoft employees. It gives you a head start on what’s coming. And there’s some logic to that; if you know what’s coming you’re in the position of updating your slides / courses and other material for the new stuff so that when it comes out, you’re ready. Makes sense, right? Also, since Microsoft values your work you can have better access to the product team to help them understand what’s going on in the market and at events. Microsoft engineers simply don’t have the time to keep track of all of that, it would distract focus from also building stuff. So again this seems like a win-win situation. But I would like to argue that a lot of non-MVP people could benefit from the same information as well and might provide valuable feedback too. I’m not saying that non-MVPs can’t provide feedback, but your means would be a bit more limited.

Being an MVP also provides you with a bit of status. People tend to look up at MVPs, they usually know what they’re talking about and they have great content. This will make it easier to get your talks accepted at conferences, mainly the larger ones which in turn bring more visibility.

 

Keeping up the good work

Once you are rewarded as an MVP, more doors will open up for you. That’s partly why being one is considered “an honor” and people tweet about being very humble when receiving it. As said, it’s easier to get your talks accepted. At some companies it also brings you more perks like (work)hours to work on your MVP status (write blogs, prepare talks). Those companies also like to boast how they have MVPs on board, again: status symbol.

Using all the perks their granted, MVPs can now more easily work on maintaining their status. You do more talks when more of your talks are actually accepted. You can do more talks if you company backs you up in doing so. And your talks will be better than others if you have inside information on what’s coming. MVPs usually have talks on content which was just released last week by Microsoft as they had their heads-up a couple of months earlier. Maybe they got to play with some beta bits in a private preview. So “the common folk” can’t ever beat that talk proposal as they simply don’t have access to the content.

 

Inner circles

Next to that, they’re now creating an inner circle within communities as well. At many events, speakers all know each other from all the other events they were invited to speak at. And so they have a nice speaker dinner, grab a beer afterwards and have a good time. Which makes these same people more likely to be invited over a next time and it raises the bar for newcomers to join. I’ve been a speaker at a couple of events and the first ones can be really awkward not knowing anyone whilst all these presenters appear to be long time friends. You can also check for the events you’re visiting. Take the speaker list and cross off: Microsoft employees, MVP’s, people who work at one of the event sponsors and women (nothing wrong here, but there’s simply relatively more female speakers then there’s female attendees or workers, that’s all). Chances are that you won’t have many names left which illustrates my point that it’s quite hard to get in.

Lastly, once you’ve worked hard to get in, it’s now easier to stay in. Since you can renew your membership of the program each year as long as you “keep up the good work”. Which, as I illustrated, is arguably easier when your talks get accepted more easily and you’re in the inner circle. In my opinion that, along with the social aspect, is why a lot of MVPs usually stay to be MVP for a number of years. I’ve even seen people stating they’re a 15-year MVP and that’s probably not the limit. Again: I’m not saying these people are not working hard any more, this is an important point to make. What I am saying is that as long as they occupy that seat, no one else can sit there.

 

You’re just jealous!

I’m fully aware that these ramblings will probably come across as being jealous. I understand that, even though I’m really not. I have never aspired to be an MVP and probably never will. I’m also not the person to travel the world talking at user groups in whatever country. The flight shame alone would get to me before that; why wouldn’t there be anyone in Croatia or New Zealand capable of talking about some Azure service just as well as I maybe could? And if there’s anything that COVID has proven it’s that we don’t need to be in airplanes all of the time.

I love my job, love Microsoft stuff and I learn, blog and present about it along the way whenever I feel fit. I’ve talked at events and have helped organize a few. I consider that to be all part of the job for which I’m already very well rewarded by my employer. I’m not in it for the fame and maybe I’m just not that ambitious, sue me.

But the yearly #mvpbuzz nonsense will keep annoying me when nothing changes. It’s mostly a repetition of what I’ve read last year. My opinion? There’s always room for improvement. Start with setting a limit on the number of years you can be an MVP. People who are passionate about their job will keep on doing the good work afterwards regardless. And the ones who don’t are apparently only in it for the fame. And maybe be more inclusive about the stuff that’s on the roadmap. That would help me in my daily job as well.

[Azure] News for Developers, June 2020

This entry is part 37 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Want to know more? Check out the readme.

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[Azure] News for Developers, May 2020

This entry is part 36 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Want to know more? Check out the readme.

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[Azure] News for Developers, the readme!

This entry is part 1 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

I’ve been keeping up my Azure News for Developers series on my blog for quite some time now. And even though each post contains a little introduction, I thought it might be nice to include a separate post to detail what you can expect from this series.

I started writing these blogs mainly to force myself to keep up with things. There’s a lot going on in the Azure space each week (well each day probably) and sometimes it’s easy so miss out on stuff. So I devised this method for myself mainly, and why not share it so that others can benefit as well? So first thing to know is that I’m writing these posts out of my own personal perspective, although I do try to not have that interfere with picking the right news items to include.

So how do I decide what’s in and what’s not? Here goes:

  • I curate each post myself, manually. So there series are not automatically generated posts like there are a lot
  • The news items will be interesting for developers. So things more towards infrastructure or specialist roles like AI and big data will usually not make the cut. Sometimes there’s news that might be interesting for developers as well, in which case I try to determine if “a large part” of my target audience would benefit from reading about this news.
  • The new features I list are mostly things that are generally available, I normally exclude features in preview. This is because not everyone might be able to use these features and these features are not to be used in production scenarios yet. So if you want the really cutting edge stuff you should probably not solely rely on my updates.
  • I summarize all the news by keeping track of some Microsoft curated news feeds. I try to paint the full picture, but I might miss a thing or two. And sometimes, especially around the big conferences, there’s just too much to summarize in one post.
  • There will probably be occasions in which I omit news that you find interesting, or include things that you do not care about. That’s a given. If you should not like that, I always try to include all of the feeds I used so you’re of course free to follow those yourself 🙂

So that’s a little sneak peak behind the scenes! A new post is coming up in 5 days, packed with news from the online Build conference. Hope you enjoy!

[Office365] Outlook keeps asking for credentials, network-style

Please note that the solution below might not apply to your situation, as there are a multitude of reasons why Outlook might keep prompting you for credentials. But I’ve found the following to work for to separate organizations now so I though it would be worth sharing.

The issue is caused by Microsoft rolling out new policies which require the use of two factor authentication. But at the same time, your Exchange tenant is not set-up to allow the modern-style authentication. This throws users into an authentication loop which they cannot get out of without changing the Exchange configuration. So what do you need to do?

This setting affects the ability to use the modern OAuth authentication pop-up (the one you know from the browser with the nice background) instead of the old-fashioned network-style login. And when using two-factor authentication, the modern pop-up is the only one which is compatible.

I found that after enabling the setting it’s sometimes necessary to close Outlook and reopen it for the prompt to appear. In rare cases we needed to remove the account and re-add it to Outlook. But from that point on things usually started to work.

Oh, and when you’re at it; enforce multi-factor authentication! Most users are used to it by now from consumer products / applications and it really boosts your level of security by a lot. Hope this helps!

[Azure] News for Developers, April 2020

This entry is part 35 of 43 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers.

This is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

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